I'm sure you've all heard that eating organic is the way to go. I agree that it is important to know that there were no chemicals used on your fruits and veggies. However, I do not enjoy the price that goes along with organic food. Maybe I'm just frugal (read: cheap). I've heard a lot of people (I've been one of them!) complain about how expensive it is to eat healthy. For example, my husband and I have looked into buying one of those pre-made boxes of in season veggies and fruits at our local farmer's market. Sounds awesome, right? It is over $30 a week just for one box of food! Maybe that is not that much and just sounds like a lot because I'm used to paying a few dollars here and there at the grocery store, but WOW!
Here is a list of foods that Jillian Michaels says should be bought in organic form:
1. Meat, dairy, and eggs
3. Peaches and nectarines
5. Bell peppers
10. Foods that you eat a lot
("Master Your Metabolism" pg. 151)
Foods that you don't have to bother buying organic:
3. Foods you don't eat that often
("Master Your Metabolism" pg. 152)
So according to this, you should buy most things organic. Does that mean I do it? Not at all. Would I like to? Of course, but until we make the big bucks, it's just not going to happen as often as I would like. I do see a need for eating organic over non-organic because of the chemicals, but in my mind, if you are just now starting to eat better, any apple is going to be a step in the right direction. FYI, the book "Master Your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels is a great book about how your body reacts to certain types of foods. I highly recommend it to people who want to get serious about what goes into their mouth. I've read it a few different times and it always motivates me to be more aware of what I'm eating.
Another great book, "Eat & Run" by Scott Jurek talks about eating organic foods to enhance physical ability. Jurek is an ultra-marathoner who is also a vegan. It has some good recipes in it and is a pretty good read. Makes me want to go run 100 miles through a mountain range...well, almost. ;) In the book, he mentions being on a very tight budget but eating only whole, organic foods. Here is an excerpt from his book about this.
"I'd been vegan for a year, and Seattle was a perfect place to explore and expand the food I was eating. I made smoothies, searched the farmer's markets and my local co-op for more fruits and vegetables. Even though I bought grains, beans, and seeds in bulk and attended member appreciation night once a month at Madison Market Co-op so I could save an additional 10 percent, I was spending more than I ever had on food. And I was fairly deep in credit card debt. While many people freaked out about the year 2000, I was secretly hoping for a Y2K crash to wipe out my debt. There are a lot of ways to live frugally. I know that better than anyone. But the fuel and medicine--the food--I put in my body was not the place to scrimp. My never-better vigor and well-being made the extra investment a no-brainer." ("Eat & Run", Jurek, pages 108-109)
If you think of food as your fuel and medicine, it makes sense to spend a little extra money on the stuff that is better for you, right? It's easy to eat processed foods because they're convenient and often times cheaper. You can go to McDonald's and eat for two for under $5 if you stay on the dollar menu. It's nuts! My challenge to you would be to look in your budget and see where you can put a little more money into the good stuff.